Networking 101: How to Use Sales in Networking

Written by Emily Weingarten

Emily Weingarten is a fourth-year combined degree student earning her Bachelor’s in Business Management and Master’s in International Business by May 2021. She has been working as an outsourced SDR for The Selling Factory for over two years working on a variety of campaigns and projects. After graduation, Emily accepted a full-time position at Chewy as a Category Analyst at their headquarters in Dania Beach, FL.

Photo on Unsplash by @ProductSchool

Networking. A concept that you hear everywhere, especially during the job search. Mentors and colleagues alike have always repeated the quote “it’s not about what you know but who you know” when networking in college, but this is not entirely true. The art and science of how to sell yourself to someone can be just as important, if not more, and can help spiral you into a variety of opportunities.

Participating in the job search is very similar to many of the processes that sales development representatives (SDR) go through. You scope out potential businesses, just like potential customers, and then figure out how to sell yourself as a valuable asset from their perspective. My experience working as an SDR has allowed me to network much more effectively as I have gained greater confidence and learned how to better emphasize the important details. 

When I am networking in college, I try to best understand who the person that I am talking to is and what their needs may be. This mindset helps me be more relatable but also stay true to myself as I think internally about my own qualities that match these needs. Focus on quality over quantity in interactions. People love finding common ground with others and we often focus too much on concrete skills rather than relationship building. 

Relationship building and soft skills are being increasingly valued while networking in college as a way to measure candidates and see if they fit into a company. After all, you can teach most people how to do something technical, but you cannot really change who they are as a person and their personality. According to SOCO, the most common mistake sales reps make is approaching interactions with a mindset of being there to get rather than to give.

As an SDR, I am constantly practicing cold calls and speaking with potential customers, which has helped me think more clearly, speak more professionally, practice patience, deal with rejection, learn to improvise, and more. Prior to this role, I was very nervous to speak on the phone and tried to avoid it if possible. Now, I look at these cold calls as a means of forming connections and enhancing my relationship-building skills. I have had incredible conversations and stories throughout my time as an SDR.

When I was searching for internships and jobs, I utilized my skills from my SDR experience constantly in order to exude confidence and act professionally. I was very fortunate to be able to go through the internship interview process with Chewy in which I used my call experience to help me through a case and to be able to sell my skill that I had to offer to the company. I am very excited to be returning to Chewy this summer to start full-time as a Category Analyst at their headquarters in Dania Beach.

The skills that I have learned through my experience as an SDR will truly be timeless as my confidence continues to grow. Everyone should spend some time practicing cold calls and talking to customers to build basic customer service skills and better your ability to sell products. When networking in college and on the job search, you will be entirely more advantaged when you know how to sell yourself!

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.